Rangnick Relieved To Secure Europa League Spot For Man Utd

File photo: ex-Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick leaves the field of play after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick admitted he was relieved Manchester United qualified for next season’s Europa League despite their 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rangnick finished his troubled spell as United’s interim manager by securing sixth place in the Premier League.

United did little to help themselves, losing to a goal from their former forward Wilfried Zaha while incoming boss Erik ten Hag watched from the stands at Selhurst Park.

Brighton’s 3-1 win against West Ham proved crucial for United as it kept the Hammers below them in seventh place.

With United avoiding the ignominy of playing in the Europa Conference League next season, Rangnick will step down to work as a consultant at Old Trafford while also coaching Austria.

Ten Hag will start work at United shortly, having led Ajax to the Dutch title.

“Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time,” said Rangnick.

“They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

“We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of the last couple of weeks.”

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Rangnick said it had been a strange experience for him since being appointed as a stop gap manager in late November when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired.

“It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season but knowing that it would be an interim role.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have any pre-season and unfortunately we couldn’t strengthen the squad.

“We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon.”

Rangnick did not hold back in his assessment of a United squad that lost focus after they exited the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in March.

“I think the big goal of some of our top players was the Champions League and after this defeat to Atletico you could literally feel it in training that we did not have the same level of energy, focus and concentration,” he said.

While Ten Hag was at Palace, he did not go into the United dressing room.

Rangnick will warn his successor he must improve United’s team-spirit when they speak in the coming days.

“Team spirit, yes this is also an issue. I think this team could do with more cohesion, there could be more togetherness on the pitch,” he said.

AFP

Man Utd Manager Ralf Rangnick Named Austria Coach

In this file photo, Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick leaves the field of play after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AF

 

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick has been appointed coach of Austria’s national team, the federation said Friday, but he will continue in a consultancy role at the club.

Rangnick joined United as interim manager in November last year and will move into an advisory position after Ajax coach Erik ten Hag comes in as the new permanent manager.

The 63-year-old German “will combine the job with his consultancy role at Old Trafford as planned,” United said in a statement.

The Austrian federation said Rangnick had been given a two-year deal that will be extended to four years if he secures qualification for the 2024 European championship.

“We are very pleased that in Ralf Rangnick we have been able to attract an outstanding expert in international football,” Austrian federation president Gerhard Milletich said.

United’s already slim hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League and securing a Champions League spot took another blow with a 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Thursday.

AFP

Manchester United ‘Improved’ Despite Loss To Arsenal – Rangnick


Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes misses a penalty kick during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 23, 2022. Ian Kington / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United have improved despite the loss to Arsenal. He also thinks his team were unlucky against the Gunners on Saturday.

“Improved performance but poor result, I think we created enough chances to score more than that one goal, we bounced back well to that early goal that we conceded where again we didn’t defend well inside and around our own box,” he said after the defeat at the Emirates.

“This was the only negative issue regarding today’s game but after coming back from 2-0 down we had numerous chances, the penalty, the crossbar, we hit the post twice, and a few VAR decisions and that’s putting it in an extremely mild way, we were unlucky. That’s why we are very disappointed about the result but our overall performances were much better.”

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Rangnick also admitted Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League football next season are over after the 3-1 loss

Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka, and Granit Xhaka struck for Mikel Arteta’s men to move them three points clear of Tottenham, who face Brentford later on Saturday.

Sixth-placed United are six points adrift of the top four and could miss out on European football completely for only the second time since 1990.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 22nd goal of the season on his return to the United side after missing Tuesday’s 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool due to the death of his newborn son.

However, Ronaldo will regret letting Bruno Fernandes take a second-half penalty with the game finely poised at 2-1 to the Gunners.

“For me, even before that game it was not very likely, but after today’s result the top four is gone,” said United interim boss Rangnick.

The German described his side’s display at Anfield as “humiliating” and “embarrassing”.

United reacted to that defeat by formalising the appointment of Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as the man to take charge at Old Trafford from next season.

However, the Dutchman will not have been impressed by another shambolic start from the side he will inherit.

It took just two minutes for the visitors’ defence to be breached as David de Gea’s fine save from Saka’s initial effort counted for nothing as Tavares swept home the rebound.

Support For Ronaldo 

Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo looks on during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 23, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. 

 

There was another show of support for Ronaldo as just as at Anfield in midweek the entire stadium applauded during the seventh minute.

On the field, the Portuguese was receiving little help from his teammates.

De Gea stood up well to parry a piledriver from Eddie Nketiah from close range.

Seconds later, Nketiah found the net from another one-on-one.

A VAR review found the England under-21 international offside, but Saka was fouled by Alex Telles as he played the ball into Nketiah’s path.

Saka took responsibility to send De Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot to double Arsenal’s lead.

Ronaldo hit back within two minutes as he swept home Nemanja Matic’s cross for his 100th Premier League goal.

Arsenal’s nerves began to show and United should have been at least level by the time Xhaka fired home the final blow.

Tavares needlessly handled a corner into the Arsenal box on the hour.

Ronaldo stood aside to let Fernandes take the penalty, but his compatriot rolled the ball onto the post.

“Goals change games,” said United midfielder Scott McTominay.

“There is a whole load of problems, but we have to have pride when you go onto the pitch. Go home and take a look at yourself in the mirror. The last four games are about pride for us.”

Ronaldo had another instinctive finish ruled out for offside before he teed up Diogo Dalot’s shot which was turned onto the post by Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal had lost three consecutive games prior to a much-needed 4-2 win at Chelsea in midweek that revived their top-four ambitions.

The relief around the Emirates was palpable when Xhaka restored the two-goal cushion with a powerful shot that flew past De Gea from 25 yards.

“You can’t expect to win every match as that is only afforded to one or two teams in the league,” said Arteta.

“We have to earn our right to win games and need a bit of luck, and today we had it.”

AFP

Rangnick Fears For United Defence Against Rampant Liverpool

Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick looks on during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on April 9, 2022. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United will be fortunate to even get a point against in-form Liverpool on Tuesday if they show the same defensive frailties they did in the 3-2 win over struggling Norwich.

Interim manager Rangnick’s pessimism came despite United’s chances of securing Champions League football next season being boosted by defeats for rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

United trail Spurs — who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot — by three points and have the same number of points as Arsenal, although the Gunners have a game in hand.

Rangnick fears for United’s defence against a vibrant Liverpool side who reached the FA Cup final on Saturday with a 3-2 win over league title rivals Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp’s side remain on course for four trophies — they have secured one already the League Cup — as they are a point adrift of City in the table and in the Champions League semi-finals.

Rangnick criticised his defence for the two goals they conceded to bottom side Norwich on Saturday, saying “no other team in the league” gives away presents like that.

“Everybody has seen today’s game and everybody knows what kind of team we are playing on Tuesday,” he said.

“They (Liverpool) have just beaten Man City, they are in the cup final and they might have a chance to win four trophies this season.

“If we play like we did today, it will be very difficult to even get a point.

“This is what we have to be realistic and aware of. We have to be lot better when the opposition is in possession.”

On a more upbeat note for United was Cristiano Ronaldo’s 60th career hat-trick which took him to 20 goals in all competitions this season.

It is an indictment of the contributions of his team-mates that the 37-year-old Portuguese superstar has 12 more goals than any of them.

It is the 16th season in a row that Ronaldo has scored 20 or more club goals in all competitions and moved him on to 99 career Premier League goals.

READ ALSO: Quadruple-Chasing Liverpool Reach FA Cup Final, Ending Man City’s Treble Bid

However, Ronaldo has also had moments when he has shown he is clearly unhappy with the way things are going at United and there are doubts he will see out the final year of his contract next season.

Rangnick says a decision on Ronaldo’s future will be for his permanent successor, with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag reportedly likely to be appointed within days.

“In the end, this is not my decision,” said Rangnick, who will stay on at Old Trafford as an advisor.

“Cristiano has another year on his contract. This will be a decision for the new manager to take together with the board.

“But he showed against Tottenham and today that he can be the difference-maker in games like this.

“It is no coincidence he has the best goalscoring record of all players in history.”

AFP

Gulf In Class Clear To Rangnick As Man City Humble Man Utd


Manchester City’s Algerian midfielder Riyad Mahrez (L) shoots to score their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on March 6, 2022. Manchester City won the game 4-1. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick recognised the gulf between the Red Devils and Premier League leaders Manchester City after doubles from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez inflicted a 4-1 derby defeat on Sunday.

City re-established a six-point lead at the top of the table over Liverpool and opened up a 22-point advantage over United, whose chances of just qualifying for the Champions League next season are fading fast.

Rangnick’s men now trail Arsenal, who also have three games in hand, by a point in fourth.

“It is a difficult game that shows we have a long way to go to close that gap,” said the German.

“Everyone knows how good they are. They are one of the top teams in the world and there is a gap between the two teams.”

READ ALSO: Arsenal Defeat Watford, Surge To Champions League Spot

At the top of the table, Liverpool also have a game in hand to reduce City’s advantage to three points.

But Pep Guardiola’s men responded to the pressure applied by the Reds’ seven-game winning run in the league by bouncing back from two sub-par performances against Tottenham and Everton.

Just as in their meeting at Old Trafford earlier in the season, City cruised to victory as they secured just a second league double over their local rivals since an Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 swung the balance of power in Manchester.

Former United captain Roy Keane accused some United players of “giving up” and claimed they should not play for the club again.

And Guardiola summed up the difference in desire as well as quality between the teams.

“The biggest success for me as a manager is that after three Premier League titles is that still we run like we run, and are there to try (to win the league) again,” he said.

United were without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani in attack, but it was defenders Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw, missing due to positive cases of coronavirus, whose presence was most keenly missed.

The visitors were breached by City’s first sustained attack as Bernardo Silva’s low cross found De Bruyne completely unmarked to sweep home from just inside the box.

Despite their dominance over United when it comes to finishing higher in the table in recent years, City had only won one of the previous seven derbies at the Etihad.

United have consistently had joy on the counter-attack in that run and the pace of Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga caused problems once more.

Sancho left City as a 17-year-old to make his name at Borussia Dortmund after growing tired of waiting for a pathway into the first team.

The England international took time to find his feet at United after returning to the Premier League for huge £73 million ($97 million) fee.

But Sancho has been one of the few successes of Rangnick’s spell in charge and produced a stunning finish into the far corner on 22 minutes.

United captain Harry Maguire had to cope with more reports this week of members of his own team questioning whether he is of the required standard to lead the team.

More criticism is sure to come Maguire’s way after another leaden-footed display summed up by City’s second goal.

Phil Foden looped the ball over his England teammate and when he was denied by a brilliant save from David de Gea, the loose ball finally found its way to De Bruyne to smash home.

Rangnick’s men then had to sustain a period of pressure just to get to half-time still in the game.

Foden fired wide from a perfect De Bruyne pass before more David De Gea heroics prevented Mahrez finding the bottom corner.

The one way traffic continued after the break and only another day this season when De Gea was United’s best performer prevented an even more embarrassing rout.

Mahrez made the game safe 22 minutes from time when he was picked out by De Bruyne’s corner and connected sweetly to find the far corner.

The Algerian then rubbed salt into United wounds in stoppage time after VAR ruled the City winger was not offside when he blasted high past De Gea.

AFP

Martial Denies Rangnick Claim Over Refusal To Be In United Squad

File photo: Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (L) and Everton’s English midfielder Tom Davies vie to header the ball during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park in Manchester United, north west England on March 1, 2020. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Anthony Martial contradicted Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s claim he refused to be in the squad for Saturday’s match with Aston Villa saying he would “never disrespect the club and the fans.”

Rangnick was forced to leave one place on the substitutes bench unfilled for the 2-2 draw after he said Martial opted not to make the trip to Birmingham.

“Yes, he (Martial) didn’t want to be in the squad,” Rangnick told reporters after the match.

The 26-year-old France international striker is keen to leave the club his agent said last week and has been linked to a loan move to La Liga side Sevilla.

However, Martial insisted Rangnick was wrong to say he declined to travel to the match as part of the squad.

READ ALSO: Super-Sub Coutinho Caps Villa Revival To Frustrate Man Utd

“I will never refuse to play a match for Man Utd,” he posted on his Instagram account.

“I’ve been here for seven years and I never disrespected and will never disrespect the club and the fans.”

Martial has not played for United since the 3-2 win over Arsenal on December 2 — the final game before Rangnick officially took charge at Old Trafford.

He has started only two Premier League games this season and has scored just once.

Martial joined United in 2015 from Monaco but has struggled to hold down a regular first-team place in recent seasons.

He has fallen down the pecking order at United, who have an array of attacking talent to choose from, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Mason Greenwood.

He is under contract at United until 2024, with the club holding the option of an additional year.

AFP

Rangnick Starts Man Utd Reign With Win As Spurs Hammer Norwich


Manchester United’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelof (L) and Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred (R) celebrate after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United started the Ralf Rangnick era with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday as Tottenham crushed Norwich 3-0 to extend their recent revival under Antonio Conte.

Leeds struck late to draw 2-2 with Brentford as new Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard prepared to lock horns with his former boss at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, in the late match against Leicester.

Rangnick, taking the reins for the first time, named an unchanged side at Old Trafford after United beat Arsenal 3-2 in midweek and was rewarded with a high-energy performance in the first half, backed by a vocal crowd.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo’s 800th Career Goal Begins Man Utd Revival As Carrick Walks Away


Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick leaves the field of play after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo had the hosts’ best chances as Palace initially struggled to get a foothold but the game remained goalless at half-time.

United’s performance levels dipped in the second period and Rangnick threw on Mason Greenwood and Anthony Elanga for Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to inject fresh energy into his attack.

But it was often-maligned Brazil midfielder Fred who broke the deadlock, curling home a superb strike past Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita from outside the box after a pass from Greenwood.

The three points lifts United to sixth place in the table, three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

Spurs Stroll 


Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min (L), Tottenham Hotspur’s Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura (C), and Tottenham Hotspur’s Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (R) celebrate after Son scores their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on December 5, 2021. Daniel LEAL / AFP

 

Spurs are one point ahead of United with a game in hand after cruising to a 3-0 win against bottom side Norwich — their third straight victory in the Premier League.

Lucas Moura opened the scoring in the 10th minute. After a nice piece of skill to round a Norwich defender, he played a one-two with Son Heung-min, turned his marker and thundered an unstoppable drive into the top corner from 20 yards.

Tottenham doubled their lead midway through the second half when Davinson Sanchez smashed home a loose ball from a corner.

Son made it 3-0 in the 77th minute with a fine goal as Ben Davies and Oliver Skipp combined before the South Korean fired into the bottom corner.

Conte took over from the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo early last month, with Spurs languishing in mid-table after a poor run of results and is starting to make an impact.

Brentford were denied a win at Elland Road as Patrick Bamford scored deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for his side.

Tyler Roberts gave Leeds a 27th-minute lead, sliding on to Raphinha’s cross from the left to stab the ball home.

Shandon Baptiste equalised for Brentford from the edge of the penalty area in the 54th minute and Sergi Canos put the Londoners ahead seven minutes later.

But Bamford had the last word, poking home from close range in the 95th minute following a corner.

Manchester City are top of the Premier League after their 3-1 cruise against Watford on Saturday, one point clear of in-form Liverpool and two ahead of Chelsea.

AFP

‘One Of The Biggest Clubs’: Man Utd Job Too Good For Rangnick To Reject

In this file photo taken on April 20, 2019 Leipzig’s then coach Ralf Rangnick smiles during an interview before the German first division Bundesliga football match Borussia Moenchengladbach v RB Leipzig in Moenchengladbach, western Germany.  INA FASSBENDER / AFP

 

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick said he could not turn down the opportunity to manage one of the “world’s biggest clubs” as the German set his sights on potentially extending his stay in charge beyond this season.

Rangnick has agreed to manage United until the end of the current campaign and is expected to remain at Old Trafford in a consultancy role after that.

The 63-year-old held his first press conference on Friday after watching United’s 3-2 win against Arsenal from the Old Trafford stands the previous evening.

Michael Carrick had led United on a caretaker basis for the three games since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked.

But, after legal red tape delayed his arrival, Rangnick, who had been working as Lokomotiv Moscow’s head of sport, has finally been cleared to start a job that was too good to refuse.

“We are talking about six-and-a-half months, one-third of the games, and we have agreed on a two-year advisory deal. If Manchester United contacts you for such a role you cannot turn it down,” Rangnick told reporters.

“This is one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest club, in the world. I am excited to work with the players we have here.

“I am well acquainted. It’s pretty obvious the team has an abundance of young, talented players and experienced players.”

Rangnick was offered a similar opportunity to manage Chelsea on an interim basis after Frank Lampard’s dismissal in January.

But he rejected that move because, unlike with United, there was no option for a longer stay, with his old protege Thomas Tuchel taking over at Chelsea instead.

“At the time, when Chelsea contacted me, they only spoke about the option to become interim manager for four months, without any prospects for the long-term,” he said.

“Here, we are talking about six and a half months. We only have one-third of all the games played in the Premier League.”

Asked about the possibility he might replace Solskjaer on a permanent basis if he does well at United, Rangnick did not rule it out.

“If we do well and we stabilise, I might even recommend that we keep working with me,” he said.

Having seen both the qualities and the flaws of the United squad in their rollercoaster win over Arsenal, Rangnick knows there is plenty of room for improvement.

He believes making United more organised and efficient in defence will be a big step in the right direction.

“The major target for me is to bring more balance into the team. Even yesterday (Thursday) we conceded two and needed three to win. We concede on average two a game and this is too much,” he said.

Adapt to Players Available’ 

There have been suggestions United striker Cristiano Ronaldo will not be suited to Rangnick’s intense gegenpressing tactics.

But Rangnick, having seen Ronaldo score twice on Thursday to take his career tally in club and international football to 801 goals, said he was confident the 36-year-old could fit into his system.

“You always have to adapt to the players you have available,” he said ahead of his first game in charge against Crystal Palace in Manchester on Sunday.

“I have never seen anyone as fit at 36. But it’s not just about him (Ronaldo), it’s about developing the squad as a whole.”

United have not won the Premier League since the final season of Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden reign in 2013.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Solskjaer have all since been hired and fired as United’s full-time manager.

Now it is Rangnick’s turn to try and restore United to their former glory.

“It’s not unusual that after a long successful spell, the club needs to find a new path,” Rangnick said.

“The club has had no continuity in signing new players and sticking to the club’s DNA. It’s important not to have many changes in management.”

AFP